Before people from big corporations want to see my head on the stick, let me tell you: I love Excel. Seriously. It's a great piece of software, and you can really do amazing things with it.
It is a mature product, that also has initiated a hoard of lookalike, wannabees and similar products. All of which are good (or at least okay-ish) in some way. All of which do the same thing, in some way.
And yes, if you are tracking your own private finance for example, it's a great piece of software where you can put your income, expenses, and see how you will come out at the end of the month.
My problem is not with Excel itself (nor any other spreadsheet software).
My problem is with people who think it is suitable for The Translation Industry
Because it's not. Maybe it was a Translation Management System replacement back in 1989 or even 1999 but today? Sorry. It just won't work like that.
So in the first post in our "WTF" series, I'll try to go and understand people who say that it's enough for their company.
What is really scary, is that these people are not 80 years old "bring back the typewriter for translations" type. It's not the technophobes who hate CAT, who don't use MT, and often even mix those two. No! It's the Gen X or even Millennials - read - still the majority of the powerful working force in their 30s-40s and early 50s...
People who come to me and say: "I can do fine with my excel. I just hate that I have to spend 3 days every month with finance, invoicing clients, checking for errors in vendor invoices... " but when I present them with my MiniTPMS card, they continue: nonono, I don't need TMS or TPMS (call it like you want) because we're a small company and there is no use for it.
Now if you don't value your time enough to try and save those 3 days each and every month and spend it on your kung-fu lessons, or with your kids, or with your partner I'm not the one to tell you there is a problem in the Universe.
Even if we step outside my - probably too American - way of valuing my time too much - sorry, I really like to play with Lego more than group tasks and write invoices. That is the simple truth! And the thing is, I LIKE writing invoices! It's the best time of the month. But there are things better than that. Like binge-watching The Punisher or something - so even if we say that you are extremely organized and even more disciplined...
The List of SpreadSheet Disadvantages is Just too Long
Maybe it's enough if you just go and put the one row in your spreadsheet every time a new task comes, and at the end of the month combine them somehow, and make invoices... maybe.
What if you have more clients?
You need to filter your clients, then make a little table for each of them separately, with all the good numbers and dates and prices and wordcounts or whatever units you are working on...
Which reminds me, how will you put the different units, prices, dates, all in one spreadsheet row, especially if it was a huge job and you had to outsource it to more colleagues, and what if the unit you get from your customer is A, and the one you pay your outsourced vendors is B (for example: words / characters, words / pages, etc. as every country, vendor and client has their own liking). What then?
Even if you have all that sorted out by some magical tricks... tricks that only you and nobody else in the universe understand, there is still a ton of things we need to address.
What Spreadsheets are
NOT good for
Heck, you need a separate spreadsheet for each and every task. Maybe even multiple ones for each task. And when sending them to different people you really need to pay attention not to do more harm than good. And Sharing is a myth. (Okay, to be fair this is possible in some versions of spreadsheet software - but it is still very very far from ideal)
We don't need to go so far as:
This list is just too long.
So what is the solution?
I deeply believe it's a mindset thing. Not having a TMS. It's just in your head, because you think it's useless, it's expensive, and it will complicate your life.
But what if it isn't? What if it helped?
The solution is to embrace technology and not fear it. To accept that our work has become harder, faster and cheaper, and we need more sophisticated tools if we still want to be able to kick in the ball in the translation game.
When you are a PM or an owner of a translation company that has 7 Project Managers and deals with hudreds of thousands words a year the price of ours will be less than your phone bill.
When you look deep into your soul, then the only thing you will say is:
"I don't need a TMS. But I want one!"
If you want one, I have a proposal for You:
Click to read a little bit more about the concept, and for some serious discount possibilities! (subject to some really harsh cowboy sheriff criteria)